It had been a while. Sure, I have taken a few golf trips over the past couple years and have had some long weekends in the city. But still, it had been a while since I arrived in a warm, tropical location with legitimately no plans or expectations set out for me. Until last weekend.
I touched down and had a two hour drive to the island that I’d end up making into my own personal stomping grounds for the next few days. I’m not going to lie — it was a Sunday night and the drive was tense. Combining a weekend out with a four hour Sunday morning flight delay created a unique brand of Sunday Scaries that I had never felt before. But upon sitting down at a local watering hole and ordering a beer infused with local key limes, I looked at myself in the bar mirror and thought, “Man, Vacation Will is the best.”
There are several versions of myself that reach Peak deFries — on the golf course, at brunch, mid-lobster dinner, aprés-ski, poolside — but being able to catch a glimpse of the green flash that is Vacation Will was like finding a Junonia shell during high tide (something I didn’t know was even a thing until I gathered all the chill). See, those things just rarely happen and need to be appreciated and reflected upon long after they occur.
Gaining the awareness that I was in love with Vacation Will from the start allowed me to embrace everything that was Vacation Will. With every beermosa and rum runner, I had an appreciation for what was happening. While floating around lethargically in the pool after an afternoon at the beach, I felt like 2011 Verlander pitching a day game against the Cubs. It was just coming so easily to me.
“Where should we eat tonight? Do we have anymore rosé? Should we toss a floater into these agua frescas? Are we taking the convertible to dinner? Is that a manatee by that buoy?”
And without flinching, I just had all the right answers: the rum bar, two more bottles, of course, top down, and allow me to check because the water’s fine.
I was finding joy in things I’d never thought I’d find joy in. I mean, I was looking for shells, man. That’s not the type of hobby you take up to show off for your friends or put on your resumé. Maybe it was the morning beers or the fact that I was well-rested, but I’d like to think it was more just instinctual and pure. It was an intrinsic way of finding what truly made me happy.
Vacation Will didn’t want to eat the local catch of the day; he needed to eat the local catch of the day. He didn’t prefer beers with a hint of citrus; he required them. He was the guy saying, “Calories don’t count when you’re on vacation,” in between bites of pre-noon key lime pie. Vacation Will specifically requested we not make a reservation when everyone knows Everyday Will needs structured itinerary.
In between deciding whether to listen to Jimmy Buffett or Toots and the Maytals, fears of low bank accounts and credit scores escaped me. The thought of having to go to work later in the week wasn’t as daunting as returning the Monday after a big weekend. The need to return text messages and phone calls was casual rather than a necessity. The Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes mentality was all I knew and all I wanted to know.
When everything falls by the wayside and you you begin to notice everything around you, something changes. In life’s routine, it’s those moments of clarity and thankfulness that allow you to appreciate your existence. Get out there and find your paradise, guys. Vacation You will appreciate it. .
Image via @willdefries